The juxtaposition between capitalism and the environment.

Environmental degradation is an old phenomenon, with negative consequences. Our era, however, has turned to global-scale problems regarding the natural environment. It seems humanity has become a dominating geological force. The author of the article stresses three characteristics of this phenomenon: first, the amount of people on this planet has surged – humans inhabit more land and second, humans have created technologies that cause far greater damage than ever before; thirdly, the dominating economic structure, capitalism, according to Magdoff and Foster, neither knows nor accepts limits to its expansion. What is underlined in this chapter is that the concept of capitalism seems to expand its scope in order to circulate and accumulate capital and, as a consequence, recreate itself. In light of this, there is a sort of juxtaposition between capitalism and our natural resources, the planet in other words. What needs to be considered is that these resources are finite and clearly not in line with the auto-reproducing nature of capitalism. The basis of capitalism, after all, is the concept of converting yesterday’s profit into capital. Chapter 4 is particularly focused on capitalism in the Anthropocene, including some eco-Marxist and neo-Marxist references. What I find extremely interesting among the conclusions is the idea of the tragedy of capitalism-in-nature in the sense that capitalism cannot change the way it treats its environment. They seem to be two diametrically opposed concepts. In the author’s opinion, every kind of environmental awareness should be matched with a strong opposition towards capitalism. Regarding this final remark, we should take into consideration the concept of happy degrowth, in the sense of a valid alternative to the current system. Degrowth proposes to reduce the consumption of commodities that do not satisfy any need – e.g., the energy waste – but not the consumption of goods that can only be provided in the form of commodities, because they involve complex technologies – e.g., magnetic resonance imaging, computers, or even a pair of shoes – which, however, should be purchased as locally as possible. It is based on the idea of “less whenever it’s better.” In an economic system aimed at “more, even when it’s worse.” It can be considered a soft revolution aimed at developing technological innovations that reduce the consumption of energy and resources, pollution, and waste per unit of production.